The Daily Gamecock

Fraternities face stricter rush standards

Violating chapters will face $2500 fines, removal of recruiting priviledges


Following a semester marked by recruitment scandal and unprecedented disciplinary action, Fraternity Council is tightening up its rush policies and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life is aiming to turn the newest USC Greeks into student leaders.

Neither are new initiatives, but both have the same intended goal: to clean up this semester what, in the fall, was a booze-soaked fraternity rush.

Fraternity Council has declared fraternities using alcohol and illegal substances as recruitment tools this semester will be fined $2,500 and have new member privileges repealed. A second offense will cost the organization another $2,500 and removal from rush week for the following semester. A third offense costs the chapter’s entire standing with the university. Fraternity Council President Jordan Cox insisted that the penalties are not new, but said they were never clarified during the previous rush process.

“If these were in place, it was not to the effect that the council was enforcing them or could enforce them,” Cox said. “The presidents were very receptive to our ideas for a stronger outline of the rules.”

But it’s not clear just how receptive the fraternities themselves are to cleaning up their act.

The Greek Emerging Leaders program, which Fraternity and Sorority Life announced had accepted 30 students saw participation from only four of USC’s fraternities. Eleven out of 15 sororities are being represented. The seven fraternity men taking part in the program hail from Beta Theta Pi, Kappa Sigma, Sigma Chi and Alpha Epsilon Pi.

Cox said he couldn’t comment on why there was such low representation from USC’s fraternities, but he hopes to push participation in the new program as he and other council members work to “clear up” their chapters’ reputation after last semester’s disciplinary drama. Repeated incidences of alcohol and hazing during the fall 2011 fraternity rush week led the university to temporarily halt recruitment, only to reinstate bid day provided fraternities agree to comply with university standards.

“I’m confident that the fraternities would be more willing to get involved in a program like this,” Cox said. “It’s something that we will promote heavily. I don’t want the fraternity program to be misrepresented in any program here in the university.”

Cox hopes a strong, unanimous agreement among fraternity presidents will translate into a smooth process for the remainder of the spring rush week, which began Sunday and ends Saturday. Over 300 students are registered for spring rush, a solid turnout that Cox said exceeded expectations.

Assistant Fraternity and Sorority Life Director Katie Spell hopes to see more of those new pledges in next year’s Emerging Leaders class.

“I don’t know if it’s the solution — a lot goes on to fixing the accountability — but it will be a step in the right direction to have young leaders in those chapters trained,” Spell said. “Sometimes it takes only one or two people in a chapter to turn things around.”